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  • Kelly Daniel

How do Pet Microchips Work?

1 in 3 pets goes missing at some point in their life. While this is a scary statistic, microchips are one of the best safeguards a pet owner can utilize to prevent their pet from becoming and staying lost. Even for indoor-only pets, microchipping your pet increases your chances that you’ll be reunited with them in case they ever run away, get lost, stolen, or otherwise disappear without a trace.


No bigger than a grain of rice, a pet microchip is implanted under your pet’s skin. The microchip stores a unique ID number that is used to retrieve the pet owner’s contact information whenever a microchip scanner is used. During the scan, the microchip emits an RF (radio frequency) signal and the scanner reads the microchip’s unique ID code. When a microchip registry is called, the company uses the ID number to retrieve the owner’s contact information from the registry database.


After your pet is microchipped, you still have one more equally important step to take care of. Did you register your microchip? Is the contact information up to date? Keep the microchip number in your records. If you are unsure what type or brand of microchip your pet has, you can look it up using the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Site. Plug in the number and the site will tell you which registry the chip is registered, when it was last updated, and provide the necessary information about how to get in touch to check and update your contact information. Call the microchip manufacturer or go onto its website to update your contact info any time you have a change of address or phone number. Another popular registry to increase your chances of reuniting with a lost pet is Michelson Found Animals. This is a free and universal registry that accepts all brands and frequencies of microchips.


If you are unsure if your pet has a microchip, ask your veterinarian to scan it so that you may have the unique ID code. Virtually all shelters and veterinary clinics have microchip scanners. For example, any time a stray animal is brought in to Lee County Humane Society, it is scanned for a microchip in efforts to reunite the animal with its owner. Just recently, a stray cat was brought into our shelter. Luckily, it was microchipped! The owners were immediately called and we were told that their cat had been missing for two years. They were reunited with their long lost family pet and were able to take him home the same day he was brought into the shelter! We urge you to microchip your pet today. Microchipping your pet can mean the difference between a happy ending and your pet staying lost, potentially forever.

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Auburn, AL | lchs1140@leecountyhumane.org | 334-821-3222

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